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Delayed-Release Capsules Explained

Posted by CapsCanada on 10-Jun-2024 1:08:24 PM

The use of delayed-release capsules is an excellent example of how pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies have embraced innovation to create more effective health solutions. For formulations that can either be harmed by stomach acids or irritate the stomach, delayed-release capsules enable delivery of the formulation directly to the small intestine.


Got questions about delayed-release capsules? For example, how do delayed-release capsules work? Want to know about the benefits of delayed-release capsules and if they are better than other options? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.


Frequently Asked Questions about Delayed-Release Capsules


What is the purpose of delayed-release capsules?


The primary purpose of delayed-release capsules is to protect their contents from the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach by staying intact until after they pass through the stomach. Delayed-release capsules are also used to protect the stomach from formulations that can irritate it.


How do delayed-release capsules work?


K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules contain a material that prevents them from dissolving until they reach the small intestine. In this way the capsules act as a barrier against stomach acid, safeguarding their contents from the stomach’s harsh environment – without the added cost and complexity of incorporating coatings or acid-resistant properties during manufacturing.


What makes K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules a superior solution?


In the past, the only way to achieve delayed release for capsules was to add an enteric coating by spray coating the filled capsules. However, enteric coating is a risky process that can ruin a batch of filled capsules. K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules get the job done without the need for an enteric coating. 

Because the acid resistance is incorporated in the capsule material, K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules completely eliminate the added cost and complexity of adding acid-resistant properties during manufacturing. This removes the need for the chemicals, phthalates, solvents or additional coatings or processes that tablets and other dosage forms require in order to delay release until the capsule reaches the small intestine.


What are the benefits of delayed-release capsules?


K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules offer:

• Delayed- release – The capsules do not dissolve until they reach the small intestine. 

Shorter product development cycle and lower manufacturing costs : These capsules eliminate the need for the chemicals, phthalates, solvents or additional coatings or processes that tablets and other dosage forms require in order to delay release.

• Broad protection: In addition to safeguarding encapsulated ingredients against the effects of stomach acids, K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules also safeguard against pH fluctuations, temperature variations, moisture, humidity and oxygen penetration. 

• Enhanced bioavailability: By protecting ingredients from stomach acids and strategically releasing active ingredients in the intestines, K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules ensure maximum absorption and effectiveness. 

• Reduced nutrient competition: Because they release nutrients in a controlled manner, these capsules also reduce the possibility of the capsule’s ingredients competing with other supplements and medications for absorption.

• Pleasant patient or customer experience: Mask taste and smell in easy-to-swallow capsules that are gentle on the stomach.

Superior performance: K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules provide the same crystal clear appearance and excellent machine performance that K-CAPS® are known for.

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What are the benefits of delayed-release capsules for probiotics and enzymes?


Delayed-release capsules are an optimal dosage format for probiotics, enzymes and other sensitive ingredients. Probiotics, for example, are live microorganisms. To be effective, these microorganisms must still be alive when they reach the intestine. If the capsules disintegrate before passing through the stomach, most of these microorganisms will be killed by the stomach’s acids. Likewise, the efficacy of enzyme supplements can also be negatively impacted by stomach acids.


What are the benefits of delayed-release capsules for pharmaceuticals?


Some pharmaceutical formulations need to be delivered directly to the intestinal tract in order to be effective. For example, capsules that resist stomach acids are used for medications that treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crohn’s disease. Other formulations, such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) can irritate the stomach lining and cause discomfort if the capsule dissolves in the stomach. Delayed-release capsules address this problem.


Are delayed-release capsules better?


Different types of capsules serve distinct roles in supplements delivery. 

Delayed-release capsules are better for active ingredients that can be harmed by stomach acids, that can irritate the lining of the stomach, or that need to be delivered directly to the small intestine to achieve maximum efficacy.

Standard immediate-release capsules are better for active ingredients that need to be absorbed swiftly, either directly into the bloodstream for quick efficacy or in the stomach or oral cavity for immediate action. 


Are delayed-release supplements better? 


As explained above, different types of supplements require different release patterns in order to maximize efficacy. There is therefore nothing that makes supplements that require delayed release inherently better than those that require immediate release. 

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What is the difference between K-CAPS® Delayed-Release and regular K-CAPS®? 


Most empty capsules, including regular K-CAPS®, are formulated for fast dissolution. For example, like most HPMC capsules, regular K-CAPS® dissolve in about 15 minutes. In contrast, tests have shown that K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules take about 30 minutes to dissolve. 

However, although the dissolution times differ, K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules offer the same high quality, excellent machine performance and Kosher and Halal certifications as regular K-CAPS®. 


What’s the difference between AR-CAPS® and K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules? 


AR-CAPS® Acid Resistant Capsules and K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules are both vegetarian two-piece hard capsules that offer protection from gastric acids without the need for costly and complex enteric coating processes. 

AR-CAPS® Acid Resistant Capsules are made from an exclusive formulation of Hypromellose and proprietary polymers, and contain phthalates. K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules are made from a formulation of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), and do not contain phthalates. This is an important distinction because, as per FDA guidelines, phthalates cannot be used in nutraceutical products. 

In addition, AR-CAPS® have a longer dissolution time than K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules are available in a full range of sizes, and can be fully customized with coloration, finishing and printing options.

How long do capsules take to dissolve? 

Standard gelatin capsules dissolve in about five minutes. Standard HPMC vegetarian capsules dissolve in about 15 minutes. K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules dissolve in about 30 minutes.


In what colors are the capsules available?

K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules are currently available in transparent color. More color options are coming soon. 


What sizes are available?

K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules are currently available in Size 0. More sizes are coming soon.


Do the capsules have coating? 

No. K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules do not have or require a coating. The acid-resistant properties are built into the capsule material itself.


Can we get samples?

Yes, of course! To request samples of K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules, fill out our contact form.


Where can we buy delayed-release capsules?  

K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules can be purchased from your local CapsCanada Technical Representative. 


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Topics: Delayed-Release Capsules, K-CAPS® Delayed-Release Capsules